NaNoWriMo – Epilogue

So last month I got all riled up and decided to try NaNoWriMo.

I walked into the experience full of  hubris. Despite the fact that I was starting a week late, I was sure I’d be able to stride in, thunder forth 50,000 words, then still have time to make a delicious sandwich, invent a perpetual motion machine, and wrestle a bear before the end of November.

After all, I thought to myself. Am I not a published author? Have I not published over half a million words of fiction? Am I not, in fact, Patrick Rothfuss, international bestselling author, polymath, iconoclast, and haptodysphorian despoiler of women?

In the heat of the moment I forgot that in addition to being those things, I am Pat Rothfuss, who took fourteen years to publish his first book, and four to publish his second. And while *Patrick* Rothfuss looks pretty good on paper, *Pat* Rothfuss is, at his heart, something of a slacker, a dabbler, and a hooligan. What’s more, I am prone to obsessive revision and a certain degree of linguistic faffery.

So let’s jump straight to the ending of the story. Did I win NaNoWriMo?

Well, there are two answers to that.

If  by “win” you mean “did you manage to write 50,000 words by the end of the month?” then the answer is a resounding, “no.”

Not only did I not write 50,000 words, but I broke pretty much all NaNoWriMo’s rules from the very beginning.

You’re supposed to start a novel and stick with that project all the way through the month. You’re supposed to move ever-forward, never looking back, never stopping to revise.

I did none of these things. This is in part because I am a contrary person. (See above, under iconoclast.) But it’s also because I prefer to adhere to the spirit of the law rather than the letter of it. And to me, the spirit of NaNoWriMo is writing 50,000 words.

This I did not do. I was short by about 15,000 words. So no matter if you’re looking at the spirit or the letter of the law, I’m a loser.

(Woo! NaNoWriMo Losers Unite!)

Despite the fact that I failed to hit the 50,000 mark. I consider the experience to be a huge success. Why?

  • I had fun.

Writing is usually a very isolationist activity. Heading onto the NaNoWriMo website every day and seeing how other folks were doing make writing just a *tiny* bit social. Sure, I was spending hours alone in a room, but I was spending all that time alone with other people. If that makes any sense to you.

For example, I found out fairly early that Veronica Belmont was taking her first run at a novel this year. So I wandered over and looked at her stats.

(Click to Embiggen)

Specifically, here’s the graph that charts how many words she’s written every day:

See her powerful lines? See how she’s been on track since day one?

That means she’s been writing the 1,667 words you need to produce every day to reach 50,000 by the end of the month.

By comparison, let’s look at my graph:

(Imagine a sad, cartoony trombone noise here. Wah-wah…)

Now I *did* start a week late. But even so, you have to admit that my graph looks…. um…. sad. One might even call it “wretched” or “sickly.” A particularly scathing person might even use the word, “flaccid.”

I wouldn’t use that word, mind you. But someone might.

When I contacted Veronica to see if she was okay with me using her stats in my upcoming blog, she said something along the lines of, “No problem. Thanks for reminding me I need to get my writing done for the day. I should really quit playing Skyrim…”

Her offhand comment filled me with a burning shame and fury. She was beating my ass AND PLAYING SKYRIM AT THE SAME TIME?

Fueled by shame, I wrote 15,000 words over the next four days.

It wasn’t enough for me to hit 50,000 words. But it was enough so I could end the month with my head held high.

So not only was it fun. It was motivating as well.

  • I got a lot of writing done.

No matter how you slice it, I got 35,000 words in three weeks.

I made serious headway on one project that I’ve been putting off for a while, got a start on another, and finished a third one entirely.

It’s a good feeling, getting those smaller projects done. And as an added bonus, it means y’all are going to be seeing some other stories in the next year while I’m still slogging away on book three.

  • I learned a lot.

Around the 10th day I found myself thinking things like:

I wrote 700 words today when I was answering fanmail.  That counts as writing, right?

To which I had to reply to myself: No. It’s not really writing.

What about the e-mail that I wrote to my editor and agent? That counts as writing, right?

No. You *are* typing words, and it’s part of your job. But it’s not getting work done on a publishable story.

What about the questions I answered on my translator forum?

Ummmm. No. Doesn’t count. It’s not producing new material.

What about the thousand-word blog I wrote? That’s a story. Kinda. And it’s new material.

No. Shut up. Shut up and write.

Ultimately, it made me come to grips with a platonic truth: Only real writing is writing.

Other stuff I learned:

  • I don’t need a big chunk of time to get good writing done.

Normally I like to have 3-4 hours free to write. But just 30 minutes can be productive if  I knuckle down hard.

  • You can always find a reason *not* to write.

Sometimes they’re big reasons. You want to spend time with your adorable baby. You have to take a business trip. Maybe you’re trying to get your awesome yearly fundraiser organized.

But y’know, there’s always going to be something going on. You’re tired. You’ve got a sniffle. Your roommate is being a choad. Your girlfriend wants to make out. You just discovered a cool tower defense game….

You can either let those things stop you from writing, or you can write. It’s that simple.

  • I can write 1000 words in an hour.

On one memorable day, I sat down knowing that I had to meet Sarah soon. In the hour that I had to work, I wrote a thousand words. It felt pretty awesome.

Later that day I came back to the computer and worked on revising the story. I worked for 3 hours and by the end of I was only up about 250 words.

I don’t regret taking the time for revision. Wordcount may be impressive, but revision is vital for a good story. Those 250 words were really important.

  • I learned I can write an entire story in a single sitting.

(This was, by far, the coolest part of NaNoWriMo for me.)

It was the last day of November, and I had painted myself into a corner. I hadn’t been good about writing my daily 1667 words, and I was paying for it. I was only at 32,000 words for the month, and feeling rather ashamed.

I wrote late into the night, then slept in my office. I woke up about seven hours later and sat right back down in front of the computer again.

I opened the story I’d been doing most of my work on over the month, (it’s a novella, set in my world). That’s when I remembered a little idea I’d had the day before when I was walking home.

The idea tickled at me. So rather than potentially forget it, I opened a new file and jotted it down. I jotted down the first line of the story, too. And the first couple of sentences.

Then I finished up the introductory scene. Then I did the second scene too, because it was short, and it was obvious in my head.

And since things were going well, I did another scene. And then I saw how the middle should go. And I was having fun, and it was turning out pretty cool, so I jumped in and started writing that too….
I knew I should be getting back to my novella so I could blaze some trail. I wasn’t going to get a lot of words out of my new story. It was stylistic, the POV was odd, and the language was very lean. But it was turning out really good….

After I finished the middle, I realized it would be stupid for me to do anything other than press on until the end. Because I knew exactly where it was going.

So I finished it. Beginning to end, it took me seven and a half hours. I was exhausted and excited. I’d never done anything like that before.

That final day sort of summed up my entire NaNoWriMo experience. Technically, I failed because I didn’t churn out a huge number of words. But realistically, I rang the bell hard and won the fuzzy pink elephant.

And you want to know the funny part?

You want to know the final wordcount on the story?

1667 words.

No kidding.

This entry was posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, Achievement Unlocked!, hubris, My Iconoclastic Tendencies, Nathan Taylor Art, small adventures, the craft of writingBy Pat65 Responses


  1. bookwyrmpoet
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

    I won the 5x NaNoMoFo award this year, I still have yet to successfully complete a single year. Maybe I should try breaking all the rules too, probably would help.

  2. Fluffybunnywant2kill
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

    Who draws your fantastic “Achievement Unlocked” toons? They always give me a chuckle!

    • Posted December 7, 2011 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

      It’s Nathan Taylor. The same guy that did the illustrations for The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle.

    • Posted December 7, 2011 at 5:15 PM | Permalink

      Chuckle? That one deserved a full belly laugh. It got one from me!

  3. Chocolate Sushi
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

    Interesting. So brainstorming and chatting on the phone doesn’t count as word count either?

  4. sarah_scott
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 5:00 PM | Permalink

    I failed.

    I’m too ashamed to reveal my pitiful word count.

    I’m pretty sure that writing papers for English classes counts as word count.


    What about literate role play?

    Probably not.

  5. WetMittens
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

    Awesome, I didn’t find out about NANoWriMo until Thanksgiving so my word count was laughably small, but it did give me the kick in the pants I needed to get my book started. I’m super excited for the novella. Does it involve characters we have met or would that be telling?

  6. glshade
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 5:09 PM | Permalink

    This is my third year of NANOWRIMO and my second year completing it. This year I started late, about five days in, and hit 2000 or 2300 words a day. I abandoned my initial novel idea that was more developed and began just from a seed of an idea. I feel like you wrote you did about the writing. I’m not published as a fiction writer and dont feel my fiction is yet worth slogging through but I feel I learned a lot from this years experiment and I found that I did have a lot of fun just playing with the art of writing.

    In addition compared to previous years I have been keeping my hand in writing since then. I have not been hitting 2000 or anything like it but I have been still trying….

    I have hope that someday I will have something worth another persons time to read.

    Wanted to share Thanks…

    Also just to toot my own horn the 50000 words I wrote were all on my itouch in an app called plaintext…..

    Take care

  7. Chlis
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 5:09 PM | Permalink

    So… What gives you the heebee-jeebies when you touch it?

    • Posted December 7, 2011 at 5:20 PM | Permalink

      I do believe he means that he gives heebie-jeebies when touched. I can imagine this to be true. That beard… it’s so… unnatural. It cannot truly exist, no merciful god would have allowed it.

      • Chlis
        Posted December 7, 2011 at 5:29 PM | Permalink

        Yeah that makes a lot more sense. My bad.

  8. begna112
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

    So are we going to get to read any of what you wrote for NaNoWriMo?

  9. MLBurt
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 5:18 PM | Permalink

    Much to my own regret, I gave up about a week or two in. I was trying to write a really serious, involved project, which, while really fun, was also probably a bit too heavy to keep up with while I was also suffering through November as a University student, which basically meant unending papers and exams.

    Sigh. I’d try another moth but, as you so brilliantly said, Pat, part of the fun of NaNo is that other people are doing it.

  10. brian199
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 5:19 PM | Permalink

    My hat is off to you Pat. While I have hundreds of short stories started (opening scene + a bunch of one-liner’s on what should be happening), I never can finish one. And when I attempt to it feels like I’m leaving out a lot of the muscle in the descriptions so I abandon them.

    That being said to write a story and be happy with it *nod* congrats!

  11. jijiguerrera
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 5:25 PM | Permalink

    I actually LOL’s reading this! Congratulations! You indeed won NaNoWriMo! I wrote zero words! I look forward to another novel from you soon! :D

  12. kuragari389
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 5:32 PM | Permalink

    I did NaNo as well this year. First time, first win, and while it gave me the jump I needed to finally get a good sized portion of a story done, I can’t say I’m completely happy with it. My descriptions are weak, things are missing, and the world I’ve been working on for 8 years just didn’t pop like it usually does because of it. However, it was certainly an amazing experience, whatever the case may be, because I’ve never written quite so much in such a short amount of time, and I think once the story is fleshed out some and some scenes are added, I might actually have a piece of publishable material – which is bloody exciting!

  13. Charis
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 5:39 PM | Permalink

    Haptodysphorian, I’ll buy that. But despoiler? That’s a bold proclamation.

    • Little My
      Posted December 7, 2011 at 7:43 PM | Permalink

      Agreed. I suspect it’s the opposite, that he improves things as he goes along, like any good camper.

      • Little My
        Posted December 7, 2011 at 7:44 PM | Permalink

        (that last with props to Dan Savage)

  14. Alex
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 5:44 PM | Permalink

    Can’t wait to read that novella! And the … short short story?

  15. pdxtrent
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 6:03 PM | Permalink

    Lest I forget to say it:

    I love you Pat.

    (And if you should decide in your fan-loving heart to release the short story on your blog for your fans on Christmas Day, it would be the best gift EVER!)

    My NaNoWrMo results were a dismall 17,000 words, but it went much faster when I quit writing the story I wanted to write, and intended to write, and instead wrote the weird hybrid totally-unpublishable monstrosity that I did write.

  16. vorsaga
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 6:23 PM | Permalink

    It’s strangely comforting to know that it took you 14 years to get your first novel out. I’m actually thinking of making my novel a birthday cake from year 12 next august…

    • vorsaga
      Posted December 7, 2011 at 6:24 PM | Permalink

      *for next year… Apparently I still need an editor.

  17. asterny
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

    Is the new tower game you found Dungeon Defenders? Game is fun as hell.

  18. ninjadude853
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 7:33 PM | Permalink

    ………… I didn’t even make it to the 10,000 mark.

    *sad face*

  19. Little My
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 7:52 PM | Permalink

    Hmmm, let’s see. . .70% of the content goal in 80% of the time. Not too far off the pace, though! Maybe, if you decide to do it again, you should arrange for people you feel competitive about to send you taunting emails every day.

  20. katelyn
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 8:08 PM | Permalink

    HAHA. “I should really quit playing Skyrim.”

    Glad it ended up being a good experience though. Can’t wait to read whatever you decide to publish!

    Posted December 7, 2011 at 8:14 PM | Permalink

    This post was made my week. Grad school was kicking my ass the past several days and I’ve been having a tough time writing a manuscript. The laughs I got from this post were worth a king’s ransom.

  22. Ben_T
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 8:23 PM | Permalink

    Your experience with the 1667-word story reminds me of one of this year’s Ignobel prize winners, John Perry, who came up with the notion of structured procrastination. Briefly, everything is easier to do if it constitutes avoiding work on something more important.

  23. adriannem
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for the wrap-up post. I enjoyed watching your progress and cheering you on, even when you weren’t making huge progress. Since I’m still working on the novel I started in Nano three years ago, it’s nice to see that published authors of very long books don’t always write very much in one day.

    What I learned during Nano? You can always find a reason *not* to write. So make time anyway.

  24. Posted December 7, 2011 at 9:36 PM | Permalink

    Hello !

    I was just wondering, on this blog entry, dated May 23rd 2011, you wrote :
    “We’ll be re-vamping the website relatively soon, and when that happens, the store will have its own permanent place on the webpage.”
    Is the new design ready, or was it cancelled ?
    Also, when will The Wise Man’s Fear appear in “The Books” section ?

    Thanks, and as always, great blog !

  25. yshapiro
    Posted December 7, 2011 at 11:16 PM | Permalink

    Haptodysphorian? A quick google search shows that as pertaining to the unpleasant sensation one gets when touching soft things, like cotton balls or peach fuzz. I believe the average despoiler off women is not afraid of touching soft things.

  26. Erzberger
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 12:42 AM | Permalink

    Oohh, novella! I´m excited. :-) And I´m really curious about that story you wrote in a day, too.

  27. Full-time Joke
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 1:05 AM | Permalink

    1667 words? Really? Someone queue the Twilight Zone theme song.

  28. lvdpal
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 1:32 AM | Permalink

    Yup, you really did get to experience Nanowrimo. Welcome to the wrimo-team!

    Next year will hopefully see the first year that I’m actually going to edit my novel.

  29. nrmclaren
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 3:46 AM | Permalink

    I had a very similar experience of NaNoWriMo to you, Patrick – 30,069 words, I think, in the month, though I barely got near to writing for the last 10 days or so. It was my first serious effort at writing, and I learnt an awful lot – including most of the points that you made as well.

    I beat myself up a little about not making the target (stupid illness/stupid real life problems/stupid Skyrim), but at the end of the day I learnt that I actually CAN write, and CAN write 3500 words in a day with a good wind, plenty of quiet time and a clear idea of where I am going. What’s more – I’ve got 30k (and 69) words that I didn’t have in October.

    Now I’ve got a really cool idea for a series of short stories to accompany my main novel, and a good basis on which to get cracking with it all. It will take me years, but thanks to NaNo I now believe that I can get there.

  30. Eedamme
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 5:30 AM | Permalink

    Thanks Pat
    That was a fun and very realistic post. You’re so right that only real writing is writing – it’s so tempting to cut yourself slack when you don’t really need it. I didn’t do NaNoWriMo this year, but on one day last week I wrote 10 000 words and it felt fantastic. Now I know I can do it, I feel like I have no excuses. And the best bit: it was fun!

  31. Widow Of Sirius
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 6:09 AM | Permalink

    Thank you for using the word “choad.” It’s sadly unappreciated and underused.

  32. QWOPtain Crunch
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

    “Sure, I was spending hours alone in a room, but I was spending all that time alone with other people. If that makes any sense to you.”

    All gamers know this sentiment. It makes perfect sense. Unless you’re one of the people who say perfect isn’t achievable, at which point it makes near perfect sense ;O

  33. Robin the Acolyte
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 9:49 AM | Permalink

    This was my second year at NaNo. I failed last year because I had too many irons in the fire. Three major projects going all at once, and only one was “solely” for my benefit. NaNoWriMo had to go.

    This year I didn’t even try for 50,000 words because I am doing pretty well at finishing a novel that I actually LIKE. OK. It’s the same one I started last NaNooWriMo. But I wanted to write useful material for it, not just random words. With a full time job and no wife to cook my meals and clean up after me and my dogs, my writing time is not to be wasted.

    So this year instead of NaNoWriMo I invented NeedToWriteMo. The only criteria: Write SOMETHING every day. Once, after doing some revisions, I achieved only 29 words, but hey, it was forward motion. Then I stalled out during a particularly rough week at work and never got back on the bus. I think I did a total of 15 days straight.

    However I am proud to say I am up to 25,000 words, most of which my writer’s group likes. In a whole year. 25,000. I should be done by next year this time.

    So I too am a big loser. Achievement Unlocked.

  34. lcopeland
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

    Hi Pat,

    Congrats on having so much fun with NaNoWriMo! I love that I’m not the only one who wanted to sing from the mountaintops. Yep, I bought a t-Shirt, wore it to work on a non-casual day, and was high-fives by most of my students. I had to keep explaining that “No, I didn’t make any money” or “No, other people were allowed to win, too” or my favorite “No, you can’t read it”. I think what most impressed them, was when I printed the entire thing out and showed them how much 50,000 words really were. For one day, even my Call of Duty boys believed I was the baddest mo fos on the block. I believe one of them used the phrase ‘epic’! As a fantasy fan, that made me feel pretty damn proud!

  35. Posted December 8, 2011 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

    Linguistic Faffery….That is my new favorite phrase for the month. The mission now is to see how many times it can be slid not-so-stealthfully into every day conversations. Thank You.

  36. Posted December 8, 2011 at 11:15 AM | Permalink

    Veronica’s a hot sheila, hey!

  37. Ronjo I
    Posted December 8, 2011 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

    My World of Warcraft account was hacked for the third time Halloween of last year. What do you do with unexpected free time, Google. I found NanoWriMo. I signed up and won last year. That book has since been absorbed into a larger hopefully finer work. Blizzard no longer gets any money from me. I established new habits over the month of writing.
    This year I decided to try something new. I expected to expand a short story idea. I had a great time writing the original making myself chuckle at the keyboard. The story is steampunk meets Snidely Whiplash. I wrote character sheets, small prequels of the main characters. I planned out a basic plot line. I was prepared to rock the book out in record time. All for not.
    I needed to get some historical references from my pal Google, bigger time waster than a drinking buddy. Unfortunately/Kindly I found a site detailing Slavic Mythology. Now my funny story more resembles Unforgiven, if it were written by Clive Barker, from notes left by Herman Hesse. Such is the power of organic storytelling under time deadline pressure.
    That is how I won WriMo this year. The program is so wonderful because anyone who participates wins something. I won a whole new world to explore. I still have those other characters in the bag for later when needed.

  38. dancer7887
    Posted December 9, 2011 at 2:21 PM | Permalink

    So this is a bit random, but I know you love Joss Whedon so I assume you’ve seen the TV series Dollhouse. I finished it last night and loved it!!!! It made me think of you. If for some insane reason you have yet to see this…you must. It’s on Netflix.

  39. Posted December 9, 2011 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

    As long as you got something done and you’re happy with what you accomplished. Heck, you’re published and you’re awesome; you’re allowed to get as much writing done as you want, when you want. Can’t wait to read whatever you publish next… and the word-count for the story you wrote in one sitting is kick-arse!

  40. Dianadomino
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 12:30 PM | Permalink

    This is totally off-topic, Pat, but were you aware your son is an entrepreneur? Who ELSE would have a business called “OOTS!”?

    It looks kind of cool, though… Oot must also speak Dutch. I kind of want one of those lunch boxes now.

  41. ssw166
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

    Are you ever going to post the full story/ies? I wanna read a story with lean language…XD

  42. singerofthelost
    Posted December 12, 2011 at 6:12 AM | Permalink

    The few, the proud, the NaNoWriMo Rebels. Champions who use the enthusiasm, spirit, and community of NaNoWriMo to do something with their writing though they break all the standard conventions. They are loved. They are welcome. They have their own forum, where OLL folks give ’em hugs and let ’em know they aren’t cheaters and frauds.

    I have yet to rebel during NaNoWriMo itself, but during Camp NaNoWriMo in July, I did two hours of editing a day instead of working toward drafting a novel. It was what I needed that month.

    The conventions are in place to give a framework and a challenge. And that challenge isn’t always “Write 50,000 words.” It’s also a challenge to throw aside the concept of writing 50,000 words of anything in a month and instead doing something more. Or it’s writing a couple of short stories, or poetry, or drawing a comic. It’s… whatever a person needs for their own artistic growth in November.

    I’m glad you gave it a go this year, and that you learned and grew and had a lot of fun :-) I hope you join us wrimos again next year, too!

  43. Draguta Sapphire
    Posted December 12, 2011 at 6:18 PM | Permalink

    That is awesome.

    I love the Achievement Unlocked picture, and the story word count thine was funny.

    Unfortunately, I only found out about NaNoWriMo two days ago, so haven’t participated yet.


  44. Jade
    Posted December 15, 2011 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    It’s amazing how NaNoWriMo can make you feel – successful or not. This was the first year I managed to “win” NaNo at 52k + words, but I’ve done NaNo every year and I can totally understand that feeling of accomplishment even when you don’t make the 50K count, just for creating something new.

    Awesome on you for trying and succeeding!

  45. devnull
    Posted December 17, 2011 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    “I am Pat Rothfuss, who took fourteen years to publish his first book, and four to publish his second. ”

    Can we extrapolate the ETA of the 3rd ?

    I was totally snookered into purchasing the 1st. A fantastic read but I broke my GRRM Rule of starting on a series before it was finished because the cover made no mention of the series. (Something I’ve always suspected was intentional!) Now I’m jonesing with no hook up in sight…

  46. Posted December 18, 2011 at 7:36 AM | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Rothfuss (yes, I’m stuck in low formal gear this morning), I’m glad you tried NaNoWriMo. This year was my sixth, I’m obsessed. I won (barely) my first two years, then failed miserably. Indeed, that attempt made yours this year look like you were Speedwriter on Dexedrine.

    That made me angry. Then I got mad. Then I got going.

    The next year I wrote 165,000 words. Complete drivel, but I managed to kill sedate my mental editor, at least. Not a pretty sight, but I learned I could write, every day, 5k words or more, on command, and survive to tell the tale.

    Last year I made 51k words while teaching a full load at a private university (substitute professor for 4 chemistry lectures and 4 labs). I lost 23 pounds and slept 24 hours on December 2, but it was still a “win.” Again, I learned I could do this thing while running uphill through the snow dragging a corpse or two along behind.

    This year, I was ill the first week; no words. I still finished with 140,000 words. And a (maybe) fixable story and nearly-complete manuscript; I had a partial plot going in, for the first time ever. It’s not lyrical Rothfuss-quality exposition of the human condition; more like McDonald’s for the brain but without the great flavors. Still, it’s better than I’ve ever done before.

    Next year I’ll have two complete plots ready to go. Which, of course, won’t survive contact with the enemy, but I’ll be ready to put down 7k words a day of a story. Eventually this should get me where I want to go, I need to be.

    So come on back next year and socialize with us in the chat rooms. Your presence will support and inspire us. And we’ll all win together…

  47. Janes Folly
    Posted February 11, 2012 at 10:38 PM | Permalink

    I am blinking in astonishment. I actually came to your website because I consider you …um, how to put this nicely, ..wordy. Up there with Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. I wanted to learn how to expand the sparse little kernels of stories I have from winning NaNoWriMo five times and do true world building. To see a bestselling author holding up a trophy of shame? Inconceivable.

    • Posted November 7, 2018 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

      Um, I think it means that he’s a human being like the rest of us and isn’t ashamed to share his failures as well as his successes.

  48. chat
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 1:28 PM | Permalink

    بشات بنات فقط
    شات بنات
    دردشة مصرية
    شات مصرى
    شات مصر
    شات مصري
    دردشه مصريه
    دردشة بنات
    دردشة مصر
    الشات مصر
    الشات المصري
    الشات المصرى
    الشات مصرية
    الشات مصريه
    دردشة كتابية
    دردشه كتابيه
    شات بنات مصر
    شات بنت مصر
    دردشه بنات
    شات مصر
    شات كتابي
    شات بنات
    شات مصرىة
    ahj lwvn
    ahj lwv
    ]v]am lwvdm
    ahj fkhj
    ahj lwvd
    hgahj lwv
    hgahj hglwvd
    دردشة مصريه
    دردشه مصر
    دردشه مصرية
    شات مصرىه
    سعودى اكس بي
    شات صوتى
    شات صوتي
    دردشة صوتية
    شات الكويتى
    دردشة الكويتى
    الكويتى الصوتى
    شات الكويتي
    مركز رفع
    مكتبة الكتب
    العاب فلاش
    بث مباشر
    القران الكريم
    الطب البديل
    الثقافة الجنسية
    ترجمة نصوص
    شات اسوان
    شات حلوان
    شات الاسكندرية
    شات القاهرة
    العاب اكشن
    العاب الغاز وذكاء
    العاب تصويب
    العاب رياضة
    العاب اطفال
    شات بنت مصريه
    شات مصاروة
    شات مصريه
    القسم العام
    النقاش الجاد
    القسم الاسلامي

    دردشة عراقية

    شات عراقي
    جات عراقي

  49. Posted March 31, 2012 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

    Can someone ban that fool^

  50. Vantastic
    Posted November 7, 2013 at 11:40 AM | Permalink

    This is my second year competing in NaNoWriMo. My word count last year ended just above 10,000. Pitiful. Though I was also working a full time job at the time and only hand writing when I could. I have high hopes this year, my story is much more developed and is coming along easier than last year. I got a late start this year, and I am in the middle of moving and my fiance and I are trying to prepare ourselves to be brand new parents (in six and a half weeks!), but I am determined to get a fairly high word count this year even if it doesn’t quite hit 50,000.

    I have often wondered if you ever participated in NaNo (I must admit I haven’t read your blog besides the facebook links you post, I have lots to catch up on…) and I was so thrilled when I opened my NaNo mailbox this morning to see that the Pep Talk was written by you. You are my favorite author, and my fiance’s favorite as well, though I am sure you hear that all the time and it is probably beginning to sound a little cliche, I just had to say it. We have bought countless copies of your books because everytime a friend asks us to recommend a book, we give them Name of the Wind. We refer to it as The Book. Thank you for…well for being you, I suppose. For writing such captivating stories. You seem to be a pretty cool guy, which makes me smile because I hate it when a great author turns out to be an asshat. So thanks for that too.


    Oh! One last thing… Oot. Awesome name, man. Seriously. I can’t help but smile everytime you mention him, it’s just such a happy name.

  51. Sandy Wright
    Posted November 7, 2013 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

    Thank you for validating my NaNo year. I took my past entry, finished it last year, and am filling in gaps and polishing it to submission sheen this year.
    That breaks every NaNo rule out there, but this whole wonderful on-line contest is about the writing. Getting it done, being better, moving forward.
    I WILL have this first novel out to agents by the end of the month. I wouldn’t be this driven without National Novel Writing Month. And thank you to YOU for telling me I’m not the only one to rewrite the rules to fit them to my own needs.

  52. jelliott93
    Posted November 8, 2013 at 10:04 AM | Permalink


    Thanks so much for the NaNoWriMo pep talk – no disrespect to the others but yours was the first that truly inspired me instead of had me going blah blah blah…I should be writing instead of reading pep talks.

    I was going to skip this year because I am late starting. After reading your post I am duly inspired to get work and do what I can. Personally, I think there are few better achievements in life than to inspire others to be better. You have done that. Thanks!

  53. Nichole
    Posted November 19, 2013 at 12:29 PM | Permalink

    Ah, so YOU are the one who wrote the tantalizing book that appeared in my library’s new book section a while back. The one that was the second in a series. :(

    I haven’t read any of your books yet (I was very anti-series at the above time), but I am deeply entertained by your NaNo prep talk and this post. I may see about reading your works soon.

    Thanks for the refreshing and uplifting advice. :)

    • Posted November 7, 2018 at 6:50 PM | Permalink

      You won’t be sorry (or maybe you will when you realize the third book is not yet out). Come on, Pat! ;)

      But seriously, you won’t be sorry.

  54. eliot-davies
    Posted November 8, 2014 at 10:15 AM | Permalink

    Pat, sorry to bump a year dead thread, I’m just curious if any of these pieces you wrote during 2011 NaNo got to print? Or if perhaps the novella you mentioned is Slow Regard? Cheers.

  55. Jasmin Nyack
    Posted September 15, 2018 at 4:00 PM | Permalink

    I read this today, in 2018, thinking that the novella must be A Slow Regard of Silent Things and working through my own trash brain because I decided to look over the NaNoWriMo pep talks. I appreciate it, the honesty. And the realism. Thank you

  56. Aaron
    Posted October 8, 2018 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

    Hi Pat,

    My name is Aaron Lukenbach. I’m from the same region as you, in the grand scheme of the US. Anyways, I finally saw this as I was going to write a short story in the Starcraft mythos. That said, you and I are akin in that we like to break the rules. In that regard, I shall not fail. I am going to continue to write my novel that I am truly working on. I don’t know if you’ll see this and by all means I know you’re just as busy, if not moreso, than me, but if you get the chance contact me at [email protected]; I want to have my first published book by the end of next year and I figured talking to a fellow writer/author and quite successful one would be awesome.

    Also, I don’t know if you would remember me but I had a signed copy of The Name of the Wind from you and your interpretation of Kvothe when he was homeless was exactly how I felt when I was and what he did after was exactly what I did. It really made me happy to know that you understood that. I didn’t steal or anything but I refused to stay in the gutters.


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